JACK RANDALL AND TOM KEENE IN “POPULAR COMICS”
There were plenty of B-western heroes that never were adapted to the comic book page (Eddie Dean, Bob Baker, Rex Bell, Tom Tyler, Don Barry, 3 Mesquiteers, Range Busters, Russell Hayden, etc.) and a few that were adapted, but not under their own titles.
Dell’s POPULAR COMICS began in February ‘36 by reprinting “popular” newspaper comic strips of the time (“Dick Tracy”, “Terry and the Pirates”, “Gasoline Alley”, “Harold Teen”, “Don Winslow”, etc.).
With #28 (May ‘38) POPULAR started carrying comic adaptations of B-westerns concentrating on Monogram releases and Jack Randall in particular. POPULAR continued this trend for 16 issues, through #43 (Sept. ‘39), with nine of these 16 issues featuring six page Randall film adaptations. (Perhaps even 10 issues as I’ve never been able to locate a copy of #38 to affirm if there was a Randall story or not.) Other issues carried Tex Ritter, Tom Keene and Tim McCoy movie adaptations (even one Gene Autry—#28). The Randall film adaptations were: #30 (7/38) “Land of Fighting Men” (reasonable resemblance); #33 (10/38) “Gunsmoke Trail” (reasonable resemblance); #34 (11/38) “Man’s Country” (looked nothing like Jack); #36 (1/39) “Mexicali Kid” (looked nothing like Jack); #37
With #44, ever-evolving contents of POPULAR COMICS changed and the B-western film adaptations disappeared. All the Jack Randall issues are hard to locate and not cheap when you do. In Fine any of these will cost you $140-$145, so concentrate for just a sample on #30, 33, 37, the issues in which the artwork looks like Jack.
Incidentally, as mentioned above, POPULAR COMICS used Tom Keene, but only once, in #29 (6/38) adapting “Painted Trail”. This is Keene’s only comic book appearance.